Kings

Sloppiness with and without the ball dooms Kings to third straight loss

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USATSI

Sloppiness with and without the ball dooms Kings to third straight loss

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings are moving the wrong direction. After three straight losses at home to teams at the bottom of the standings, it’s time for the club to have some serious conversations.

Sacramento played hot potato with the ball in the half, handing over the rock 10 times before the intermission, which led to 18 points for Charlotte. They allowed 72 points at the break and trailed by 20 heading into the third.

“We came out two of the first three possessions and dribbled the ball off our leg to the other team,” head coach Dave Joerger said following the team’s 131-111 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday evening. “Nobody is trying to do that and we’ve just got to keep plugging away.”

The starting backcourt of George Hill and De’Aaron Fox accounted for five of those early mistakes as Charlotte built a huge lead. Most of the Kings’ mistakes led to easy transition baskets for the Hornets.

“We’re just trying to figure it out,” Skal Labissiere said. “Tonight we turned the ball over a lot - I think it was the story of the game.”

Not only were the Kings sloppy with the ball, but they offered little resistance to the Hornets on the defensive end.

“We don’t guard a soul, haven’t defended a soul,” a clearly frustrated Garrett Temple said. “If you don’t guard in the NBA, you’re going to lose every game, I don’t care who you play. We haven’t defended whatsoever, at all, point blank.”

Charlotte, a team that came into the night with a record of 13-23, ran circles around the Kings’ defense. They shot a blistering 57.3 percent from the field and matched their season-high with 15 made 3-point attempts.

“There are times as a young team where we score, then we relax defensively or we’re playing faster and we relax defensively a lot,” Joerger said. “It’s like, ‘your turn, our turn, your turn, our turn.’”

To compound matters, the Kings forced the Hornets into just three turnovers on the evening. It’s hard to keep up when you get outscored 20-5 on points off of turnovers.

There were a few positives to take away from the loss. Fox returned to action after missing six games with a right quad tear. He finished the night with 17 points and four assists in 33 minutes of action, although eight of those points came once the game was out of reach in the fourth.

“I thought for my first game being back, playing that many minutes, that was good for me,” Fox said. “Just trying to get my wind back.”

Zach Randolph continued to put up numbers for Sacramento, dropping in 24 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes.

Labissiere started alongside Z-Bo on the front line and added 17 points and a season-high 15 boards. It was only the second double-double of the season for the Kings’ power forward.

With the loss, Sacramento fell to 6-11 on their home floor this season and 12-25 overall. They’ll get three days of practice to prepare for the high-powered Denver Nuggets on Saturday evening and then wrap up the homestand Monday against the San Antonio Spurs.

Jack Cooley gets an All-Star vote

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USATSI

Jack Cooley gets an All-Star vote

The player(s) have spoken. They want Jack Cooley at All-Star weekend.

Hidden amongst the NBA’s All-Star balloting there is always a nugget or two that catches your eye. According to the final tallies, Cooley got some love in the player voting for the NBA All-Star team.

Cooley has played a total of two minutes for the Sacramento Kings this season. Maybe it’s the way he hustles all over the court or his debonair throwback look during a media day photo shoot. Something about Jack Cooley draws you in.

The 26-year-old big man took to Twitter to thank the anonymous voter Thursday evening.

Playing on a two-way contract for the Sacramento Kings, the former Notre Dame star is currently posting 15.5 points and 8.5 rebounds for the Reno Bighorns this season.

In addition to the single vote he received from the players, Cooley also garnered 956 votes from the fans and finished with a weighted score of 79.5 in the voting process.

Rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic led the Kings in fan voting with 33,842 votes. Georgios Papagiannis was second with 20,082 votes.

H/T to Andy Larsen of KSL.com.

UPDATE (10:12 p.m.): Cooley had some more fun on Twitter after this story's initial publication.

Kings shut down first-round pick Harry Giles

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USATSI

Kings shut down first-round pick Harry Giles

SACRAMENTO -- The mystery of Harry Giles has been solved. The Sacramento Kings officially made their decision known Thursday morning that they will redshirt the talented rookie out of Duke University, sitting him out the remaining 38 games of the season. 

It’s probably been the plan all along. Sacramento spent the 20th overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft on the 19-year-old, after a full medical review of his previous knee issues. They’ve relied heavily on the medical and science field to come up with an appropriate plan of treatment and chosen a smart, measured approach to his rehabilitation.

Giles is one of six players in the history of the league to attempt to play after tearing his ACL in both knees. The team understood the risks of selecting him coming into the draft and they are hoping their cautious approach will hopefully pay dividends over the course of a long career for Giles.

After consulting multiple experts on bilateral knee injuries, the Kings made the early decision to wait a full year from the date of Giles’ last ACL surgery before allowing him to see unrestricted court time. That date has passed, but without a conventional training camp, Sacramento has chosen to err on the side of caution and prepare Giles for a healthy offseason program and Las Vegas Summer League appearance. 

Earlier this month, the team sent Giles, along with assistant general manager Brandon Williams, to P3 for biometrical and neuromuscular evaluations. According to the team, those tests proved overwhelmingly successful. 

Not only are Giles’ ACLs 100 percent healed, but the the 6-foot-10 forward is showing major signs of improvement in agility, strength and athleticism. According to P3’s testing, Giles is no longer considered an injured player and the team has cleared him for normal duty. 

The former top high school prospect has also added a few pounds of muscle, weighing in at 249 pounds, up from 222 that he was listed at during pre-draft. 

Giles will continue to practice with the team, and in addition, the training and medical staff will work to strengthen his core and leg muscles while keeping close tabs on his progress. 

Sacramento will spend the upcoming months preparing Giles both physically and mentally for the 2018-19 campaign, where they will likely add another lottery selection. He hasn’t had a single setback since joining the club and they would like to continue to build for the future. 

The tests show Giles is an elite athlete. If he can stay healthy and get back to the player arc he showed as a prep athlete, the Kings may have found another piece to the puzzle. They are going to give him every opportunity to get right physically before putting him on an NBA court.